Wednesday, 26 February 2014

"Do all you can and then exhibit patience."

God is hastening his work! That is all I have to say. The first Sunday in the Delray Beach ward was awesome. One of the first callings they extended was the ward mission leader! Ya! A missionaries dream I think yes! It is Bro. Lieber! Sister Stegelmeier will be happy to here that. The ward has only been established for 2 weeks and we have already had two baptisms!  Bro Yates said, "Only 2 weeks and already 2 baptisms. Think 52 weeks in the year 52 baptisms. Lets do it together." Time for the members and missionaries to work together? I think yes! I am so excited. The ward is going to grow so fast. I am so grateful to be apart of it. It is nothing that we do. It is all God.

What an amazing miracle filled week. My heart is so full of gratitude for all of the blessings God has given us this past week. Patience is something that I asked God to help me develop at the beginning of the transfer, and let me just say that undoubtedly when we ask we receive! I have had so many opportunities to learn patience this transfer and I am so grateful. Sister Price and I have been working ever so diligent and some days it was hard to see the fruit of our labors. We have struggled to get investigators at church and see them progress. We never once doubted our faith. We kept going and trusted in God and his timing. As I went to bed each night, I truly felt like I had done my best and felt the spirit confirm that to my heart. I knew that I just needed to keep patient with God and his timing. Yesterday all of the patience paid off as God blessed us with miracles. We received a media referral on Monday with no phone number and a bad address thus having no way to contact her. Yesterday she came to church all by herself! She is amazing. Truly prepared and elect. The other huge miracle came when Phillip was baptized.

 I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to be apart of Phillips life. He has taught me so much. He is literally a miracle. A seed was planted by sisters back in 2008 and we were fortunate enough to be able to harvest that seed. We watched him change right before our eyes. He was baptized exactly 2 weeks after meeting him. Living in a half way house, there is always someone smoking whether inside or outside as well as drinking coffee every morning and other temptations. However, despite these circumstances, Phillip was able to stop smoking, drinking coffee, and using bad language in just 2 short weeks. His faith grew immensely everyday and from lesson to lesson as he feasted upon the words of Christ through reading the Book of Mormon and reading pamphlets multiple times. In his own words he said, "My faith is strong and faith can move mountains." The Atonement is real. Christ can change us all as we allow him to. Not only that but we can change right now! We don't have to wait. All it takes is faith and humility. The stronger our faith and deeper our humility the faster the rate of progression. Phillip has taught me that.  I am so grateful to God for all of the miracles we have seen with Phillip. This past week I have been studying the war chapters in Alma. I love these chapters for they are among my favorite. They apply directly to our day. There fight against the adversary is the same fight we are contending with today. I love all of the common themes of "fortifying the line", "cleansing the inner vessel", constantly building and strengthening barricades and other protection measures and armor... the list could go on. I know that we have to do the same things today in order to withstand the fiery darts of the adversary. I am grateful for Phillip for he was clear evidence of that this past week. As he consistently strengthened himself through scripture study and other things he was able to withstand the temptations that came his way, for there were many setbacks but through his faith mountains were truly moved. 
Phillip's baptism. Bro. Da Rosa his amazing member friend and now HOMETEACHER (Delray ward rocks already got hometeaching lined up) and Keith other member friend. Keith is awesome he was baptized a back in September I think. He is so converted already. He has grown so much in the time I have been here. He always says that he is "The funniest looking mormon ever!" He is awesome. 

One more thing about Phillip... We went there the other day and he told us how he had bought green apples and carrots and some other healthy things. Of course I was thrilled when he said while holding up the word of wisdom pamphlet "I didn't know eating healthy would bring me closer to God!" I wish everyone understood that and lived it. The Word of Wisdom is not only a list of don'ts. We often forget the other half of it as well. It made me so happy. Man Happy that is the key word. Life is so wonderful! I am so happy. Being a missionary is the best thing ever! We experience a roller coaster ride of emotions no doubt. I undoubtedly go to bed each night. "Delightfully exhausted" It is the best thing ever. 

If you are thinking about a mission just do it and don't look back. It will change your life. 

Thanks for everything! 


Sister Hartley 
We went sun rising this morning. It was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.

New ward made: Delray Beach Ward

O my what a week it has been! So many miracles. So much joy. Honestly, one of the happiest weeks yet of my mission. I don't even know where to start because so much has happened this week. We had Elder and Sister Kopischke come and visit our mission this week. It was amazing as always! I love learning from General authorities. It is such a blessing. I got to see the sommerfeldts. They are so funny. I love them. I also got to see Elder Thomas from Glenwood. We were both happy to see each other. We are both pretty new in the mission still so a familiar face was really good to see.

Church was so great on Sunday! I have never been so excited in my life. The boynton beach ward and the Boca raton ward met together and they split the wards and created a new one! DELRAY BEACH WARD!!! I am so excited! God is hastening his work in the South. So much growth has occurred in the past few years. Truly on fire, and a beautiful temple to crown it all! I am so grateful to be apart of it. No greater joy then seeing God's work unfold right before our eyes. Sister Price and I will be the only missionaries (for right now) in the Delray ward. They changed our area to match the ward boundaries so our area got a whole lot bigger! President told us to just prepare to work very very hard. Obviously we are up for the challenge. What an amazing opportunity we have to set the foundation for missionary work in this new ward. God is putting immense trust in us and I don't want to let him down. Sometimes it scares me how much God trusts us missionaries. We rely on the spirit 100%. The next few weeks will bring a lot of new experiences and opportunities and we embrace them with excitement! 

The following experience is one that I shared in my letter to President this week. For times sake I copy and pasted it to you all as well:

I have such a grateful heart as I ponder what it is that I want to share with you today. Sister Price and I have truly seen so many miracles this week as we earnestly tried to apply what we learned at zone conference and district training. The first experience that comes to mind is the powerful lesson we had with Phillip on Friday. He has been working to stop smoking and drinking coffee and it was clearly evident as we started the lesson that today had been a hard day for him. He slipped up a little bit and was feeling terrible because he knew what he did was wrong. We were planning on teaching the restoration but the spirit was clearly and undoubtedly directing other wise. We opened up the scriptures and read about the Atonement and the power of Christ. We truly applied what we learned at zone conference because rather then just teaching him about repentance we "helped" him to repent! We went step by step through the process with him. When the time came for him to pray and confess and ask for forgiveness, Phillip offered one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard. When he was done we all just sat there in spiritual silence. After a few minutes, we asked him how he felt. His words and countenance were truly priceless. He described the joy he felt, and how he felt the burdened being lifted off of his shoulders. He had so much light in his eye. He said that before this experience he had always thought of repentance as a scary thing, a punishment for sinners so to speak. But now he truly understood what repentance was, it was a joyful thing. A wonderful thing. An opportunity to turn to God with full purpose of heart. President the spirit was so strong. We both felt so much love for Phillip as we helped him to repent. We could have just taught him the steps and then committed him to do it. However, that would not have been as effective, nor as powerful. The day before in weekly planning we made him a baptismal calendar like Elder Kopischke suggested to do. Phillip loved it! He has literally taken it with him everywhere. He shows it to everyone. On Sunday after church he had an unexpected trial come up where he had to leave his house for a few days with literally no where to go. Rather then be negative he pulled out his calendar and said to us, "Sisters it is going to be OK this calendar gives me so much hope." The faith that he has is truly so amazing. The calendar is really a simple thing, but for Phillip it has made all of the difference. He is so excited to be baptized this Sunday. This week was such a testimony builder to me that as we apply the counsel of our leaders we see immediate miracles. 

What an amazing week. and truly an even better one ahead. I love being a missionary!  
Half of the mission all together for zone conference. Can you see Elder Thomas and the Sommerfeldts?

Our Valentines Day fun.

Punching our Velentine Balloon hearts mom sent us.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The spirit is always with us

What an amazing week we had, for it was truly miracle filled. As I look back on each day my heart is so full. 

I was studying Alma 37 this week and really fell in love with Alma's counsel to his sons. I love how he teaches that it is truly the small and simple things that make the big difference and bring miracles. I have really seen the truth of this principle this week and would like to relate a few experiences to illustrate it.

This week Sister Price and I really focused on hard work and diligence. God truly blessed us with the experiences necessary to learn these principles which I am most grateful. We had just finished our hour of harvesting and were heading back to the car. We felt prompted to harvest a little bit longer even though it didn't fit our schedule. We turned around and kept knocking. After a few rejections and unanswered doors we began to really wonder why we were still here. We kept the faith and remained diligent. The next door we knocked on came the miracle--Jackie! So amazing. So elect. After the prayer she was in tears. She said that all day she had felt that her heart was being prepared for something but she didn't know what. She usually never answers the door but when she heard us knock something inside her said that this was what she was waiting for and to get up and answer the door! When she opened the door and saw us she knew this is what God was preparing her for. She accepted everything and is so excited to be baptized. As we are diligent and yield to the spirit--2 small things--God blesses us with even greater things. Miracles.

Weekly planning can sometimes seem monotonous; however, it is sacred time. It is time that we are spiritually creating for the coming week. While weekly planning we felt inspired to pick a few members that lived in the areas where we were working so that if anything ever fell through we could go and strengthen the members. That night our appointment ended earlier then we had anticipated. It was 8:40 and rather then heading home we were determined to give all of our time to the Lord and his work. We looked at the members we had chosen that morning and identified one to go and see. We approached her house only to see beware of dog signs everywhere and a locked gate. With strong faith that we were right where we were supposed to be, we knocked on the gate. A fear piercing growl responded. Alarmed I, jumped back not wanting to see the animal belonging to the bark. I heard the door open and someone come out. I shouted that it was the Sister Missionaries. She quickly assured us that she was grateful for us to come by but to come back another time. I wasn't going to give in that easily, (After all, my trainer taught me to be BOLD) I knew we were there for a specific reason. We assured her that we wanted to say a prayer with her and would only take a few moments. After some loving persuasion she agreed and came out to pray with us. Turns out she has been less active for a very long time. She was in tears after the blessing as she went on to explain all the trials she is currently going through. The spirit was very strong. This experience taught me so much. From being diligent until the end and using every minute of time the Lord has given us, to effective weekly planning. It truly was these small and simple things that brought about a great miracle. Diligence truly brings miracles. There were multiple times that we just could have turned back. Like the Dog, or her initial rejection, or the fact that we were almost out of time. But we didn't. We remained diligent. It is as we hold out faithful to the end that God blesses us with miracles. 

I can't believe how cold it has been at home. I am so grateful to be here in Florida... I have such respect for missionaries that work in the cold. I can't imagine working in the cold... especially knocking doors. God knew I needed to go somewhere warm!
I get along well with Sister Price. She works complete opposite from Sister Stegelmeier so we are learning how to work together and combine our strengths.Dad you asked about driving. Sister Price is Senior comp so she drives. She is so short that she has to sit on a pillow to see! haha. I know my way around like a champion now though for the most part. I bought a GPS so we use that when we need to, but for the most part we know how to get everywhere. I asked God to help me with this and he has so I am grateful. This week we have a member from the seventy coming. Elder and Sister Kopischke is coming. It will be really good. I am excited. The temple is causing so much excitement. I can't wait.

I love you all so much. Thank you for all the love, prayers, and letters. I appreciate it all so much. 


Sister Hartley 
Sister Price

Monday, 3 February 2014

New Companion, Sister Price

Well first week of the Transfer is complete. It goes by to fast. I was so nervous for transfer meeting. I had no idea who my new companion would be. I decided to chose faith. I knew that who ever my new companion was would be who God wanted it to be and that it would be the person that I could learn the most from right now. Her name is Sister Price. She is a sweet heart. She is from Rigby Idaho. A lot shorter then Sister Stegelmeier that is for sure. I am going to have to learn how to walk slow because between my fast pace and long legs there is no way that she is going to be able to keep up. haha She loves to bake... we are exact opposites in that way. She loves desserts and exercise definitely is not her favorite thing to do. We went to Subway the other day and I got the 6 inch Veggie delight and she got the Footlong meatball with no vegetables. haha describes us perfectly. From what I can tell so far her biggest strengths are my biggest weaknesses and my biggest strengths are her biggest weaknesses. Thus, we can learn a lot from each other. She will teach me patience and I am praying to help her see the importance of hard work, diligence, and exact obedience. It is strange having Sister Stegelmeier gone. I realize at a deeper level now what an amazing missionary she is for countless reasons. I have seen how much I have grown from our time together. Sister Price says that you can definitely tell that she trained me because I act just like her. haha I was grateful for the compliment. I see a lot of her in myself and I am most grateful. 

A few weeks ago Sister Stegelmeier and I met Richard. We were biking along and stopped to talk to him. He spoke very little English so we gave him a card with the Elders phone number and told them that they spoke creole and could tell him more. He called the next day and asked the Elders to come to church! He was baptized yesterday. It was an amazing miracle. It was a huge testimony builder to me of being selfless in finding. We literally have to talk to everyone. Even if we can already tell they don't speak english. It is when we truly become selfless in our finding that we as a mission can unite together to accomplish our goal. We all need each other. God blessed us for our sacrifice because in turn the elders found 2 beautiful English speaking families for us! Both are very solid and have strong desire to change. I am so grateful. 

We had an interesting experience the other day. We had a return appointment with a man. However, when we returned to visit him he had some of his friends there and all they wanted to do is bible bash and corner us with questions about what we believed. There hearts were so hard it was evident that they would not receive anything. I would begin to respond to their questions but they no sooner would cut me off and continue on bashing. The spirit was definitely not there. I wanted to get out of there as quick as possible because we are called to work with the elect. I finally just stood up, boldly stated my testimony and how I know what I know because God has revealed it to me and I will never deny it. I told them that they can never judge anything until they go directly to the source of all truth--God. I invited them to come to church to see for themselves and gave them a card and then we were on our way. This experience left me pretty shaken up but I am most grateful for it because it gave me a great appreciation for Katelyn. She has experiences like this each day. She is truly so strong to be able to endure it each day. It truly shows how strong her testimony is and how deeply converted she is.I am so grateful for her example. 


Sister Hartley